Okay, Arizona's proposition 203, the medical marijuana initiative, has passed. Yay!
Except there are still a few details to be worked out before anyone can legally fire up:
Voter approval of a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona is just the beginning of getting pot to patients dealing with severe, persistent pain.
Now, the state Department of Health Services must come up with formal regulations to determine who can get medical marijuana and who can sell it.
Many unanswered questioned remained about the implementation of the measure, including how growers will legally obtain marijuana seeds, what will qualify as chronic pain, and whether dispensaries will be allowed to have physicians on site who make patient recommendations for medical marijuana.
"The truth is we're not going to have answers to those questions for a few months," Humble said.
So the "regulations" still need to be created. And, this being Arizona, some will probably be quite odd:
Other preparations will include developing a computer infrastructure that can identify cardholders and monitor how much pot they receive.
Humble also wants to track every marijuana seed from the time it's planted until it reaches a patient's possession, possibly using a bar code system. "What we need to do is flush out the details in the initiative so we've got a responsible system at the end of the day, and that's going to take a lot of work," Humble said.
Staff time to set up the system could cost as much as $800,000, which Humble hopes eventually will be covered by fees that come from medical marijuana users and sellers.
(My bold) I didn't know that you could put a bar code on a pot seed.
The health department plans to post an initial informal draft of its regulatory rules on Dec. 17 followed by a public comment period. People can weigh in on the draft electronically or in person at three public meetings in February.
The department then will post the final rules March 28 and expects to accept the first applications for medical marijuana cards and dispensaries in early April. That's when dispensaries can begin the growing process.
"Between now and April is the really heavy lifting," Humble said in a video addressing the public about the measure.
Going to be an interesting few months.